Cancun off the Beaten Path: What to Do and What to See Beyond the Popular Hangouts

Cancun is a top travel destination with millions of tourists visiting every year, but that makes the more adventurous travelers wrinkle their noses and shy away from this amazing Mexican vacation spot. While the beaches, bars, clubs, and hotels can get really crowded and rowdy, there are ways to spice up your traditional beach holiday and still enjoy the hot sand and breathtaking views of this tropical paradise. If authenticity is what you are looking for, then read on for a guide around the less-traveled paths of Cancun.

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Off the Beaten Path

First off, book your stay at one of the many quite cheap Cancun hotels that will make sure you are still right in the center of the colorful party. Then, forget all about the English-speaking resort and make your way to the islands. You can visit Isla Mujeres, or go for the less popular and slightly underdeveloped Isla Holbox, which is perfect for nature lovers and perfect for whale sharks. Speaking of these magnificent beasts of the sea, there are tours allowing you to see them up close in the brilliantly blue waters.

A Mayan Adventure

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The mystical Mayan city of Chichen Itza is on everyone’s must-see list, but it’s still crowded and not even close to the only Mayan site to visit. UNESCO World Heritage site, Uxmal, will enthrall you with its Egyptian-like design and its astounding astronomical alignments. It is surrounded by smaller towns such as Kabah, Sayil, and Labna, which you can visit for a real Mexican experience. If Lara Croft is your hero, then you should definitely head to Coba, an enormous city that has yet to be reconstructed, where the jungle and buildings still fight for dominance. You can always pretend to be hunting for a relic and explore the ruins.

If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture but don’t want to go very far from Cancun, you can always visit Merida, the largest city in Yucatan. Merida has been a Mayan capital since the dawn of time, even if the Spanish conquistadors claimed to have founded it in the first half of the sixteenth century.

Cenote Swimming

Cenotes are a big attraction for all tourists, and you shouldn’t let the opportunity pass you by. Yet, instead of rubbing shoulders with the huge crowds, you could enjoy a leisurely swim in the more secluded cenotes. To get to these, you need to find and book a community tour. Unlike their popular counterparts, these tours are organized by small Mayan communities which will keep you far from the tourist trails and introduce you to wild, barely discovered swimming holes. These cenotes are surrounded by charming, quaint, and very small Mayan villages.

History with a Twist

If archaeological sites are not your thing, but you still want to visit a museum, why not try the tequila tasting museum? Located in Cancun’s Casa Herradura, this museum is dedicated to how tequila is made, from the starting point as an agave plant, to being bottled and sold all around Cancun. Tequila is the national liquor and it has its own fascinating history.

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